Porirua City Council hits misbehaving berm parkers in the pocket

https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/106065589/porirua-city-council-hits-misbehaving-berm-parkers-in-the-pocket 

Porirua City Council (PCC) is zoning in on the wallets of the city's berm abusers, issuing $6000 worth of infringement notices in a year.

Figures show the agency issued 182 $40 infringements for parking on berms in the year to the end of July - 40 were eventually waived.

Protecting underground infrastructure and keeping footpaths clear for pedestrians were the main reasons for the ticketing blitz.

Surprisingly, this year's figures were slightly down on 2012 numbers where 200 infringements were issued, with nine being waived.

Resident Glen Jacob was upset when he was fined while his car was being worked on by a friend along a Whitby street. 

"I didn't know anything was wrong until I received the fines in the mail.

"There were no tickets on my windscreen ... and my car registration was up to date at that stage."

Jacob challenged the two fines he received and one was waived.

"I think they reversed the berm fine, but [the council is] still doing me for operating a vehicle with no registration even though it wasn't being driven.

"A friend had it to replace the brakes and parked it to move cars around."

Details released under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act showed that, of the 182 infringements, 32 were for a previous offence of parking on a roadside grass plot, shrubs or flower beds causing damage.

However, about 150 tickets were issued for the newer offence of parking on a grass berm causing or likely to cause damage.

By comparison, Lower Hutt - which has about double the population of Porirua - issued 49 infringements over the past year.

Upper Hutt is of a similar size but didn't issue any, while Kapiti noted three-related offences but all were waived.

Cannons Creek resident Richard Voogd said people regularly parked over the fire hydrant outside his neighbour's place which was about a five-minute walk from Porirua Park - home of the Northern United Rugby Football Club.

"The fire department have had call to use it at least four times, that I'm aware, of in the time I have lived here.

"On one occasion, the house on the property that it's in front of was badly damaged by fire and ended up being demolished."

The council sent a strong message to residents at the start of the winter sport season.

The agency handed out 82 reminders over two weekends in May to people parking badly around sports fields.

PCC manager of monitoring and compliance Leonie McPhail said there were important reasons for keeping berms clear.

"Important infrastructure, such as pipes and cables for water and internet, run directly under the berms to connect homes to various networks. They cost a lot to repair should they get damaged.

"We also need to ensure the paths are clear especially for people using mobility scooters or pushing prams," McPhail said.

Anyone who received a parking infringement notice had 56 days to appeal.

The council owns the berms but, as in most cities, residents usually mow their own to help keep the city's maintenance costs down.

 - Stuff